A Miami Gardens man wanted for more than a dozen South Florida hotel and home burglaries was taken into custody by Miami Beach Police Thursday, after a Crime Stoppers tip led detectives to the Aventura Mall where the suspect was apprehended, police said.
Miami Beach Police spokeswoman Det. Vivian Hernandez said the agency's leads in the case were running dry until they made key surveillance snapshots public. At 6 feet 4 inches and upwards of 300 pounds, Hernandez said Dequan Johnson was hard to miss and he knew it.
"The subject, Dequan Johnson, would use his size to his advantage," she said.
He reportedly used that stature to intimidate eyewitnesses and victims who found his behavior suspicious. Police records show he did that often at hotels along Miami Beach's Collins Avenue.
In October 2012, surveillance cameras captured him muscling away a computer from an office at the Crystal Bach Suites Hotel. Last January, at the Eden Roc, a maid caught Johnson, 32, redhanded with stolen laptops. One of his more brazen heists was June 8 at the Miami Beach Resort Hotel. Detectives said he snuck inside a room, and bumped into a maid who was sprucing up, before he cleaned it out.
The maid told police Johnson showed her a hotel key card, and said the room belonged to his mother. The room really belonged to two Brazilian tourists who were downstairs at breakfast, as he ran off with $20,000 in their valuables, which include a Chanel bag, a gold Cartier watch, cash and credit cards, according to police.
Once in custody, police said, Johnson confessed to 14 burglaries. He is also being linked to similar heists in Sunrise, Sunny Isles, Coral Gables and Palm Beach County.
Johnson has been charged with 11 counts of burglary, and 12 counts of grand theft. It wasn't immediately known if he has an attorney.